Northrop Grumman said Tuesday that it will close down a Louisiana shipyard and may shed its entire division that makes warships as the Navy shifts its shipbuilding priorities.

The company will close its Avondale facility by 2013 as it consolidates its shipyards on the Gulf Coast. The moves come as the shipyard winds down construction of Navy amphibious assault ships. The decision will affect about 5,000 people who work at the facility. Northrop says some could move to its Pascagoula, Miss., shipyard, but did not say how many.

Northrop is also exploring "strategic alternatives" for its shipbuilding business. Those include splitting it off through a possible spinoff to shareholders.

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